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Damascus Delegation Sets ‘Red Lines’ in Sochi

Damascus Delegation Sets ‘Red Lines’ in Sochi

Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 - 07:15
Journalists at the Main Media Center of Sochi's Olympic Park on the eve of the Congress. Getty images

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and a security official have met with hundreds of figures, who were invited to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, to inform them about the “red lines” that need to be respected during the talks, a western official told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

According to the official, those “red lines” included not accepting to speak about the formulation of a new constitution, but to insist on amending the Constitution of 2012.

The UN, Russia and other western states speak about a “new constitution that would pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections under a UN supervision and in respect with Resolution 2254 as part of the Geneva process.”

During their meeting with the Syrian foreign minister and the security official at the Damascus Opera House, participants were also told they should “reject tackling issues linked to the Army and security” in Syria.

On Monday, UN Special envoy Staffan de Mistura agreed with Russia on the final draft of the “Sochi document.”

A copy of the document obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat included an approval of a UN condition for the envoy to head a new constitutional commission that would implement Resolution 2254.

Western states, including the US, France and Britain, will monitor whether the draft Sochi communique will get the approval of Turkey and Iran.

Those states are also observing Damascus’ position and whether it would consider the document as not binding.

Some 1,600 Syrian politicians, rebels and members of civil society will attend the negotiations in the Black Sea Resort.

Russia Today reported that around 500 journalists from 27 states are expected to cover the congress.

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